Even as stay-at-home orders are lifting, the automotive world shifts to digital. However, there’s a limit to how much a piece of copy on your website can replicate talking directly to a sales rep.

Digital walkarounds have become more common as consumers grow more comfortable with large online purchases. Shoppers are looking for a vehicle on their lunch break more than they are stopping into the store.

A digital walkaround is when a rep uses a video conferencing tool to show a customer a vehicle in real time. This is different than a pre-recorded video (which are still great) as this is done live.

Being live is very important; it allows a customer to ask questions without having to wait for an email response or call-back. What could be a 3-hour process to get an answer is shrunk to a 3-minute phone call.

It also allows customers to compare how a car looks in real life to what they are imagining it would be. That’s important. Photos can only take you so far.

So, before you start scheduling 5 video calls a day, check out this handy guide we have put together for you. It’ll help you avoid embarrassing situations and help close customers who are remote.

Planning Your Calls

Before you start hosting video calls, you’ll need a plan. If you work the sales floor, you’re used to improvising. For digital walkarounds, you want to limit improvisation..

First things first, decide which platform you want to use to host your calls. There are a ton of free video-conferencing apps for your phone. Some of the most popular ones are:

  1. Zoom
  2. GoToMeeting
  3. Google Hangouts
  4. FaceTime (for Apple only!)
  5. Skype

It’s recommended that you have at least two options, so you have a backup if anything goes wrong.

Play around with your video hosting software to understand the basic features and where things are in the menu and how they work before you start scheduling calls. A customer doesn’t want to hear that “you just got this service and you are figuring it out.” Take 15 minutes beforehand and know how to:

  1. Start the call
  2. Record the call
  3. Flip between the camera facing you and away from you
  4. Share your current screen if needed

Second, do a test run with these apps with a coworker. Take turns running the call and being the “customer.” It’ll give you a great deal of insight to how the customer will view the call.

Finally, record your test calls and play it back. They’re great to have on hand for training the team or to reference later on.

Scheduling Your Calls

Next, ensure customers have a way to schedule these walkarounds on your site. Try to capture the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Phone/email
  3. Preferred Meeting Date
  4. Vehicles of Interest
  5. Features of Interest
  6. Preferred video-call app (if you’re using multiple)

It’s important that you don’t bury this page on your site. Add links from the homepage (desktop AND mobile), your inventory, and anywhere else it makes sense.

If a customer wants to check out multiple vehicles, it’s highly recommended parking them next to one another so that you can jump from one another. It’s not a great experience to be on the other end of someone walking from one end of the lot to the other. Be conscious of your customers time.

Running the Call

If you’re not as familiar with these kinds of calls, shoddy camerawork can lead to a bad experience for a customer. Don’t lose business because of that!

Follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts and you can’t go wrong:

DO

  • Move the camera at an even speed.
  • Use your hands to point at parts or features
  • Be friendly and personable
  • Keep the video-call portion under 5 minutes. You can follow up later or afterwards to discuss.
  • Keep your phone vertical. You don’t want the view to constantly be changing. Most phones have an option in their settings to lock this into place so the screen doesn’t shift as you move the camera.

DON’T

  • Put the camera too close to whatever you are trying to show. Instead, keep the view about a forearms length at all times from what you’re showing.
  • Record in a noisy area
  • Talk to others when you are on the call
  • Eat food on the call (gross)
  • Start the call when you are not near the vehicle

Other ways you can drastically improve the call experience is to call the customer beforehand and chat about what they want to see. It can cut a lot of the fat out of the video call as you (and the customer) will know exactly what to expect.

Following Up

After the call has wrapped up, it’s critical to quickly follow up. The most helpful items to include after a video call are the recording of the call, any info the customer needed (paperwork or links to the inventory), and a scheduled date to finalize the deal.

Dealers have been having a ton of success at making a lasting impression by video recording a personal “thank you” for stopping by. It will mean the world to a customer and it will only cost you 1 minute of your time.

That’s all for this week! If you have any stories about what is working or not working for you, drop a comment below.

We thank you for reading and hope you will check out future articles! If you have a topic you would like to know more about, feel free to suggest one in the comments below as well!